Quin. You may do it extempore, for it is nothing but roaring.
Bot. Let me play the Lion too, I will roar, that I will do any man’s heart good to hear me. I will roar, that I will make the Duke say, let him roar again, let him roar again!
Quin. If you should do it too terribly, you would fright the Dutchess and the Ladies, that they would shriek, and that were enough to hang us all.
All. That would hang us every mother’s son.
Bot. I grant you, friends, if you should fright the Ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us; but I will aggravate my voice so, that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove; I will roar you an ’twere any nightingale.
Quin. You can play no part but Pyramus, for Pyramus is a sweet fac’d man, a proper man as one shall see in a summer’s day; a most lovely gentleman-like man: therefore you must needs play Pyramus.
Bot. Well, I will undertake it. What beard were I best to play it in?
Quin. Why what you will.
Bot. I will discharge it in either your straw-colour’d beard, your orange-tawny beard, your purple-in-grain beard, or your French-crown-colour’d beard, your perfect yellow.
Quin. Some of your French-crowns have no hair at all, and then you will play bare-fac’d. But, masters here are your parts, and I am to intreat you, request you, and desire you to con them by to-morrow night; and meet me in the palace-wood, a mile without the town, by moonlight, there we will rehearse; for if we meet in the city, we shall be dog’d with company, and our devices known. In the mean time I will draw a bill of properties, such as our play wants. I pray you fail me not.
Bot. We will meet, and there we may rehearse more obscenely and courageously. Take pains, be perfect, adieu.
Quin. At the Duke’s oak we meet.
Bot. But hold ye, hold ye, neighbours; are your voices in order, and your tunes ready? For if we miss our musical pitch, we shall be all ’sham’d and abandon’d.
Quin. Ay, ay! Nothing goes down so well as a little of your sol, fa, and long quaver; therefore let us be in our airs—and for better assurance I have got the pitch pipe.
Bot. Stand round, stand round! We’ll rehearse our eplog—Clear up your pipes, and every man in his turn take up his stanza-verse—Are you all ready?
All. Ay, ay!—Sound the pitch-pipe, Peter Quince.
Bot. Now make your reverency and begin.
By Quince, Bottom, Snug, Flute, Starveling, Snout.
Quin. Most noble Duke, to us be kind;
Be you and all your courtiers blind,
That you may not our errors find,
But smile upon our sport.
For we are simple actors all,
Some fat, some lean, some short, some tall;
Our pride is great, our merit small;
Will that, pray, do at court?